CSExtra – Top Space News for Friday, October 25
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Friday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Boeing revenues rise in part on NASA Space Launch System development. Panel of former space explorers to discuss asteroid threat. NASA’s Hubble, Chandra and Spitzer space telescopes to team for a new deep space observations, Frontier Fields. China’s lunar rover draws comparisons to U.S., Soviet spacecraft. NASA’s Cassini mission finds unexpected terrain on Saturn’s moon Titan. Does a mounting space debris hazard merit more attention? Louisiana lawmaker holds up confirmation of NASA Chief Financial Officer to become U.S. Energy Department undersecretary. Golden Spike, a commercial U.S. lunar exploration initiative, urges human collaboration with robotic exploration of the moon. Solar activity on the rise this week.
1. From Space News: Boeing says revenues from work on NASA’s Space Launch System is responsible in part for a boost in revenues.
2. From Space.com: International panel of astronauts to discuss the threat to Earth posed by uncharted asteroids in a presentation hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The panel includes retired NASA astronauts Tom Jones, a planetary scientist; Ed Lu, current chair of the B612 Foundation, and Rusty Schweickart, a B612 founder. Romanian and Japanese astronauts will participate as well. B612, a nonprofit, plans a privately funded asteroid detection mission called Sentinel.
3. From Discovery.com: Three of NASA’s Great Observatories, the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope will join forces for Frontier Fields to observe the universe in finer detail than ever before.
A. From Spaceflightinsider.com: Hubble, Chandra and Spitzer collaboration could make discoveries of distant galaxies that formed when the universe was only a few hundred millions years old possible, say astronomers.
4. From the South China Post: As China prepares to launch its first lunar rover later this year, some are challenging the advance. The rover, they say, borrows from NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover, which reached the red planet in 2004 and continues to explore, as well as the former Soviet Union’s Lunokhod-1, which landed on the moon in 1970. “There is no denying the similarities,” Professor Wen Guilin from Hunan University in Changsha told the South China Morning Post. The Chinese vehicle “borrowed heavily from other countries, in particular the United States,” the publication reports.
A. From the Council on Foreign Relations: An op-ed suggests the U.S. Congress should re-examine its restrictions on cooperation with China in space. A mistaken interpretation of sanctions recently led to a ban on Chinese participation at a U.S. Kepler space telescope mission conference. Lawmakers should begin to review U.S. long-term space research and exploration needs and consider how U.S.-China cooperation might further U.S. interests, according to the op-ed.
5. From the Christian Science Monitor: NASA’s Cassini mission cameras spot unusual terrain at the north pole of Saturn’s moon Titan. The distant landscape mirrors the salt flats of Utah.
6. From the Washington Post: Economists suggest a user’s tax on satellite launches. The revenues would fund an orbital debris clean up. “User fees are a solution straight out of the Reagan era to deal with precisely these sorts of environmental issues,” says Peter J. Alexander, an economist at the Federal Communications Commission.
A. From the Huffington Post: Feature film Gravity offers a new paradigm for growing hazards presented by space debris, according to an op-ed from Azum Ali, an electrical engineer. The U.S. should mount a demonstration mission to remove a symbolic manmade space relic, he suggests. The U.S., Russia and China are responsible for the most space debris, he notes.
B. From Space News: U.S. budget sequester enforced delays will add $70 million to the cost of U.S. Air Force upgrades in the nation’s orbital space surveillance network, an aerospace expert testifies before Congress this week. One mission of the network is to track space debris.
7. From Spacepolicyonline.com: U.S. Sen. David Vittner, of Louisiana, places a hold on the White House nomination of Beth Robinson, NASA’s Chief Financial Officer, to become an undersecretary in the Energy Department. Vitter has challenged Robinson over job creation at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans.
8. From NASAspaceflight.com: Golden Spike advances commercial human missions to the lunar surface during recent Lunar Planetary Institute conference. Advocates urge the company to combine human missions with robotic initiatives. Golden Spike looks to foreign governments, industry as potential clients.
9. From Spaceweather.com: A succession of solar flares unleash a series of coronal mass ejections that could give the Earth a glancing blow. Solar activity is on the rise. More auroral activity is possible.
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